Welcome to the fourth installment of our Washington Capitals weekly trends report. The regular feature provides a very brief snapshot of the most relevant statistical trends for Capitals over the past seven days.
The following table lists the Capitals team stats and league rankings for last week (Left side – after 14 games) and the current stats and rankings for today (after 18 games). The colors indicate improving (green) and/or worsening (red) trends over the past week. [Click to enlarge]
This last week’s snapshot begins with a loss to the Penguins on home ice followed by a pair of mutual drubbings with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The week concluded with a tough, hard-fought loss to the Panthers in the Sunshine state on Tuesday. The loss to the Penguins was probably the biggest disappointment, as Pittsburgh was below the Capitals in the standings and riding a seven-game losing streak entering the game.
Power Play – The Capitals power play took a “ofer” for the week, going 0 for 21 across the four games. The Capitals man-advantage has been bi-polar this season, as they went 4 for 5 the game prior to the the start of the “Ofer”. It’s difficult at this point to project exactly where the Capitals power play unit sits with respect to the rest of the league.
Goals For/Game – 5-on-5 scoring continues to be a challenge for the Capitals, and arguably the biggest reflection of the team’s injuries to date. Lines have been continuously changing, with no one line ever really providing any kind of consistent play. The team needs to find a way to hang on for dear life until the cavalry comes – or players begin returning from injury.
Penalties – The Capitals were called for more penalties this past week, but also drew more penalties, so this could basically be considered a wash.
Goaltending – While the Capitals goaltenders have been under siege for most of the season, they had been able to fend-off more than their fare share of (expected) goals. They took a hit this week, but again, goaltending is not an issue for the Capitals.
Possession – The Capitals possession metrics continue to improve, ever so slightly, but the improvement has been consistent over several weeks now, which is a good sign. This may be the biggest positive in a big picture sense.
Faceoffs – Regardless of your opinion of the overall importance of faceoffs, the Capitals continue to improve at the dot.
Hits/Blocks/Takeaways – The Capitals improved their league standing in hits, blocks and takeaways per 60 minutes of play. This feels like an attempt by defensemen to step up their game, but that is not statistically linked at this point.
The Capitals will look to salvage their three-game road trip Thursday night when they face the Blues in St. Louis. Then it’s a return home for three games before they embark on their annual northwest road trip.
By Jon Sorensen